Jesus the Great High Priest is the title of this passage in Hebrews. Hebrews is written to Jewish people so it is full of rich history from the Old Testament. Verses in the Bible aren’t really meant to be read alone. If we do that we can step away from the context and can lose the intention of what’s written. Here’s the context of this verse that brings this passage into clarity:
“14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
How in the world can we approach God’s throne with confidence? Jews were well aware that even some high priests were struck dead when they entered the Holy of Holies, God’s presence. This only happened once a year but as a measure of prevention they’d tie a rope around the priest’s waist to save the lives of others so they could pull him out in the event he died. Nobody was confident going into God’s Presence. Saying we can approach God’s throne with confidence was something radical!
I too am human, I’m a sinner. How can I approach God confidently?
Without Jesus I’d be stamped out because God cannot be in the presence of sin. It’s only through Jesus I can come boldly and confidently to the throne of God. Verse fourteen says to hold fast to confession. This makes us clean, not something we ourselves did, but a miraculous act of God Himself. It’s only because of God anyone can find themselves boldly speaking to God.
The greatest beauty in this verse is what we discover at the throne: mercy, grace and help. Who doesn’t want mercy? Who doesn’t want grace? We all need these tremendously in our lives! More irony here that people died in God’s presence. The Holy of Holies isn’t any longer. It’s destroyed. Yikes! God is now omnipresent! Everywhere! It feels ironic.
I’ve heard many say if they stepped foot into a church it would blow up. Might this be Old Testament thinking? Now should one be brave enough to enter a church building where the people of God gather to worship and honor God many would be amazed at what they’d discover. Lead someone to God today. It’s the most beautiful place!
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